Presentation of the study issue
In recent years, computer games have had a huge impact on how people spend their free time, Cesarone (2014). "Computer games, e-mail, the Internet, mobile phones and messaging are an integral part of our lives (Prensky, 2001)." The latest official figures from the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) show that 2.7 billion people, almost 40% of the world's population, are online. At the end of 2011, 45% of the world's more than 2.3 billion internet users were under the age of 25 (twenty-five) years old. This technology is changing the way of how the individuals socialize, study, work, spend their free time. (DiNicola.M.D., 2004).
New technologies have brought about a new form of social interaction in the digital world between children and adolescents. Peer communication is one of the most popular uses of technology (Subrahmanyam & Greenfield, 2008). Technology has thus become an important tool for connecting adolescents with one another, but it has also influenced other activities that include leisure time for children and adolescents as well as relationships with families. It is becoming increasingly clear that, in addition to family, peers and school, we must consider the digital world as another social context in adolescent development. It is therefore important to consider the implications caused by the proliferation and inclusion of young people in the digital world.
The explosion of the video game industry in the last decade has had many questions. The main concern is that the violence and violent acts within games. The newest generation of gaming is so realistic that the line between "simulations" and video games has been largely blurred. They are so realistic that the United States government has even launched a game, called the US Army, to help the next generation of military specialists, Vargas (2006).
In 2008, the study of the World Internet Project (WIP), a global international study on the impact of the internet on individuals and society, conducted in 13 countries, presented the percentages of Internet use to the target group of pre-teens ages 12-14 years. The findings showed that these percentages were much higher than expected. In the UK 100% of 12-14 year olds used the internet, 98% in Israel, 96% in the Czech Republic, 95% in Canada, 88% in the US, and so on (Lebo et al., 2009). Gradually, the computer game industry has become a lucrative business, making the product grow more and more, which is becoming stronger through media advertising.
Submission of the problem
Evaluation of children's perceptions and perspectives of computer games has received little attention in studies and research literature. Technology development has made children grow up in a virtual environment by educating themselves on all the uncontrolled information technology provides. "The child should be given what he needs, not what he wants", this is a phrase, that takes a lot of place in today's reality where children are increasingly becoming part of the virtual environment. The way of life, but also our environment, has changed a lot in the last decade. The increased of road traffic and construction densities make the physical and mental activity of children almost lukewarm. Gradually, the video game industry has become a lucrative business, where electronic gaming centers are not controlled.
The recent technology has postponed many children to become addicted to computer games by moving away from the other nature games or normal sports. Addiction to slots, and especially the PlayStation, is beginning to make a big impact, creating a problem that needs to be addressed.
In our country lacks the scientific studies that have focused on the perception and perspective of children, aged 7-14 years on the PlayStation computer games in Tirana. This problem has not been addressed by researchers in our country before, so it is very necessary to explore it. This study will represent an attempt to make scientific contributions in this field.
The purpose and objectives of the study
Purpose of the study
This study aims to describe, identify and evaluate the perception, attitudes, and perspectives of children aged 7-14 versus computer games at Play Station centers in Tirana.
The objectives of the study are:
• To identify the attendance and involvement of children in computer games, PlayStation centers.
• Become familiar with children's perceptions, attitudes and perspectives towards computer games.
• To describe and recognize the perceived positive and negative impact of computer games on children.
Research questions raised in the study
What is the frequency of inclusion and use of computer games by children in PlayStation centers?
What is the perception, attitude and perspective of children towards computer games?
How informed are children about the effects of computer games? What is the perceived impact of computer games on children?
Research method used
The research method used in the study is the qualitative method of data collection, analysis and interpretation.
The qualitative method is used, as it provides an in-depth and detailed understanding of subject exploration, as the study is interested in the frequency, perspective, and effects of computer games on children from 7 to 14 years old, according to their perceptions and descriptions. The use of the qualitative method helped to build an in-depth view of the specific issues under consideration, based on the relatively small number of subjects included in the study.
Qualitative research in the study is built on a case study strategy. The case is based on research, children aged 7-14 near PlayStation centers, in the area of New Tirana, Astiri.
The population of the study and the selected sample
The group of subjects selected for this study consists of children aged 7-14 years in the 9-year school cycle attending PlayStation internet centers in the New Tirana, Astiri area. The study relied on a sample of 15 children, who conducted in-depth semi-structured interviews at 3 Play Station centers, as the single most suitable environment to find the children to be included in the study. The selection of subjects was carried out in such a way as to satisfy the conditions set out in advance by myself as a researcher.
The sample of this study consists of 15 children aged 7-14 years, which coincides with the 9-year school cycle in Tirana. The sample was selected in a non-probability manner and it is a purposeful sampling. Purposeful sampling is a response to the practical limitations of a researcher's time and to the subjects' approach that limits the ability to use a large random sample.
Children selected to be part of the search had to meet certain conditions:
Be attendees and players at PlayStation centers in the New Tirana area.
To be children in the age 7-14 years.
In fact, I chose this age group as they have more direct contact with technological innovations and at the same time cannot understand the in-depth problems of electronic games and frequent attendance creates a great dependency on these games. Despite the number of subjects being only 15, theoretical saturation was achieved because children's perception and viewpoints on electronic games were similar, so no further interviewing was necessary.
The process of data collection has taken a period of one month. Data collection as mentioned above was done using in-depth semi-structured interviews face-to-face with interviewees.
Data analysis in qualitative research is the most important component and challenging at the same time, which should be carefully thought out. For this reason and in order to be more accurate, data analysis is not carried out with specific software programs, but the analysis is carried out in a completely manual way.
To record the interview sessions is used recording from phone (mobile) that allow me to concentrate in the search in the direction of the discussion and not to keep note continuously. This ensured the accurate recording of the interview sessions, including every aspect of the conversation excluding anything. These transcripts were coded and later used in the data analysis.
Conclusions and Recommendations
In summary, some of the main findings of the study are:
The attendance of Play Station centers by the children was very high. This is indicated by the frequency, the number of hours of the stay per day (over 3 hours), as well as the attendance of video game centers several times a day.
Description of attendance showed that children had created dependency on computer games. Even when they do not go to centers PlayStation, children will be playing at home.
The children's perception and perspective of electronic games had positive attitudes and relevance to them. They watched these games as the most fun, leisurely, and fun way with their peers.
Parents had no control over their children for computer games. They allowed the children to spend at least 2 hours a day.
The presence of aggression, violent situations, severe visual images were not a concern for children and these aspects had no impact on their behavior in everyday life.
All children were able to pay the fee for computer games. They were saving their school money or asking for it from their parents.
What pushed the kids towards computer games was the presence of peers in these centers as well as the feeling of fighting to be always first in the race with friends.
At school or in their books there were no textbooks to address the issue of electronic games. For children, the teachers and parents have told them not to stand in front of computers, television and computer games.
Finally, children's desire to quit video games was low. No one agreed not to play one day.
Recommendations for further study:
» Publishing articles, brochures and textbooks about the impact and effects of computer games and their adverse effects.
» Increasing parental control over children.
» Control of media and internet information.
» Direct conversations and contacts with children.
» It is recommended to conduct other studies of this nature, which include other aspects that were not the focus of this study.
» It is recommended that in the future, the studies have a larger sample, so the case may be not only children but also parents and school teachers in Tirana, as well as in other cities, as this will bring more complete data and inclusive of the attendance levels and effects these games bring to younger ages and the comparison between them.
» To implement the new law on electronic games, stipulating that children under the age of 14 will not be permitted in the internet centers.
Recommendations to avoid, limit or eliminate the negative effects of prolonged and uncontrolled use of computer games, researchers recommend a number of measures:
- Learn about the types of video games your child plays.
- Do not allow video games to be installed in the child's room.
- Set limits on how long and how often your child should play.
- Monitor all content used by him for video games, tv, internet etc.
- Supervise the use of games offered online.
- Take the time to discuss with the children about the games that they play and the programs they attend.